Top Tip for Successful Networking Face-to-Face

This top tip is for individual networkers as well as for event planners and managers. The key to successful communications when networking face-to-face with people you haven’t met before is a strategically placed, quickly and easily read name tag almost at eye level.

I attended an event today where the name tag alone was vertically 4” x 6” hanging at the end of a colorful ribbon 18 inches long with a swivel clip. Wearing that tag placed my name about level with my crotch. Typical for everybody else at the event — male or female. The type was so small it meant staring at their bellybutton, waist or crotch (depending on  the length of the ribbon) to read their names on their name tag. So much for furthering better communication through networking with more eye contact. Do away with ribbons!

My solution for name tags is simple.

The largest type on the tag should be the first name followed in slightly smaller size by the last name last name. That’s followed by professional title (if any) in smaller type. Below that, in similar type size as the title is the company name if there is one.


For example when I meet up with Sam or May Jones, Executive Vice President of XYZ Corporation I don’t say hello Sam Jones, Executive Vice President of XYZ Corporation. I almost always address him or her by the first name which is less formal and more connective.

Fortune 500 companies down to smaller startup companies and professional associations at 70% of the events I’ve attended over the past three decades have no concept of how to make a quickly readable name tag. I won’t bore you with all the variations of the tag design that has cropped up — which I’m sure most of you have experienced. When they mess it up typically the largest most colorful name visible on the name tag is the sponsoring company or organization’s name. I’m not sure what the value of that is because we know the name of the event we are attending, and in most cases they collect the name tags at the end of the event (saving money on name tag holders I guess). So much for successful memorable marketing of their event.

An experienced networker wears their name tag on the right-hand side of their garment to enable the other person to readily see their name when shaking hands. This is another way of promoting eye to eye contact to start a good conversation.

Women frequently asked me how they should wear their name tags. My answer is “Wear your tag on the right-hand side of your garment higher than your cleavage if you are showing any.”


networking tip from larry blumsack

Finally, I always bring my own magnetic name tag holders in three different sizes so I can insert the current event name tag in one of them or one of my own pre-printed cards.

I’d love to hear of your experiences with name tags that just don’t work!                         

Blumsack Brown BackgroundAs a coach, trainer and consultant, Larry Blumsack partners with people and organizations on the move and those already there to accelerate their communication, presentation and speaking skills to be on par with their ambition. Through one-on-one coaching and group training Larry helps leaders and aspiring leaders elevate their presence and communication skills to influence more people, sell more products-services-ideas and inspire others more successfully than they ever imagined.

Larry is the bestselling author of Face-to-Face is The Ultimate Social Media and founder of Zoka Institute and Zoka Training®. Zoka Training® — Mind/Voice/Body/Mindfulness in sync — is the result of Larry’s 45 years as a coach, acting teacher, actor, voice-over artist, theater and TV director/producer, radio & TV commentator and show host, speaker, trainer, serial entrepreneur, and syndicated columnist. Larry was a founding member of the theater department at Northeastern University.

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